Orange County Board of Supervisors Pension Contributions, Measure A (June 2014)
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County employees, including elected and appointed officials, are required by law to contribute towards their pensions. Prior to Measure A, the county was allowed to pay these required contributions on behalf of the employee as part of an employment benefit. Measure A prohibited the county from paying these employee contributions for any members of the Board of Supervisors or any other elected officials in the county who started their term of office after the Measure A election on June 3, 2014.
- Election results from Orange County Elections Office
Text of measure
The title on the ballot:
To prevent the county of orange from paying required employee contributions for members of the board of supervisors and other county elected officials who begin a term on or after June 4, 2014.
The following impartial analysis of Measure A was prepared by the office of the county counsel:
This measure would add a new pension related provision for members of the Orange County Board of Supervisors and other County elected officials to the County Charter, adopted by the voters on March 5, 2002.
Employees, including elected officials, are required by California law to make contributions towards their pension benefits. The amounts of these contributions are set by California law. California law permits county governments to pay all or a portion of these pension contributions on behalf of employees. Currently, the County of Orange does not pay the employee contributions for members of the Board of Supervisors. The County of Orange does pay the employee contributions on behalf of some other County elected officials.
If approved by a majority of the voters in the County casting votes on this measure, the County would no longer be allowed to pay any portion of the employee retirement contributions for elected, re-elected or appointed members of the Board of Supervisors and other County elected officials who begin a term of office on or after June 4, 2014. Such officials would be required to pay their full employee retirement contributions.
Future changes to the County Charter, including this provision on payment of employee retirement contributions for members of the Board of Supervisors and other County elected officials, must be submitted to the voters for approval.
This measure was placed on the ballot by the Board of Supervisors.
—Orange County Counsel
The full text of the ordinance that was enacted by the approval of Measure A is below:
AN ORDINANCE OF THE COUNTY OF ORANGE, ADDING ARTICLE V, SECTION 501 TO THE CHARTER OF ORANGE COUNTY TO PREVENT THE COUNTY OF ORANGE FROM PAYING REQUIRED EMPLOYEE CONTRIBUTIONS FOR MEMBERS OF THE BOARD OF SUPERVISORS AND OTHER COUNTY ELECTED OFFICIALS WHO BEGIN A TERM ON OR AFTER JUNE 4, 2014.
The People of the County of Orange, California, hereby ordain as follows:
SECTION 1: Article V, Section 501 is added to the Charter of Orange County to read:
ARTICLE V. ELECTED OFFICIAL PENSION CONTRIBUTIONS
Sec. 501. Elected Official Pension Contributions
The County shall not pay the employee retirement contributions referenced under Government Code Section 31581.1 (as of October 1, 2013) and Government Code Section 31581.2 (as of October 1, 2013), for elected, appointed, or re-elected Members of the Board of Supervisors or other County elected officials who begin a term on or after June 4, 2014.
The following individuals signed the official arguments in favor of Measure A:
- Todd Spitzer, Orange County Supervisor
- Janet Nguyen, Orange County Supervisor
- Carolyn Cavecche, president of the Orange County Taxpayers Association
- Shirley Grindle, author of TINCUP – Orange County Campaign Reform Ordinance
Arguments in favor
The following official arguments were submitted in favor of Measure A:
Orange County’s unfunded pension liability is over $5 billion. We must rein in out of control government employee pensions.
This ballot measure will prohibit taxpayer subsidies of politicians’ employee pension contributions. In other words, this measure will require Orange County’s politicians to pay their own employee pension contributions instead of using a taxpayer subsidy to pay their employee pension contributions.
The Orange County Charter is the county’s version of a constitution. By voting for this measure, we will enshrine pension reform as one of the core principles of our County government.
This measure ensures the politicians can never again vote to give themselves a taxpayer funded subsidy of their own employee pension contributions; only the voters will have the ability to ever change this.
Passing this measure will send a message to self-serving politicians:
In the private sector, people have to fund their own 401(k) retirement accounts and there might be an employer match. Why should the taxpayers have to fund the politicians’ entire pensions? This ballot measure stops this perk.
The Orange County Register’s Editorial Board wrote in support of sending this ballot measure to Orange County voters because they support requiring elected officials to pay their own employee pension contributions. The Orange County Employees Association (OCEA) leadership supports this measure and its efforts to require elected officials to pay their own employee pension contributions. When the
Orange County Register’s Editorial Board and the OCEA leadership agree on something, you know it must be a good idea.
Vote “Yes” on this measure to reform pensions and make the politicians pay for their own pension benefits.
—Todd Spitzer, Janet Nguyen, Carolyn Cavecche and Shirley Grindle
- The Orange County Register editorial board wrote an article endorsing Measure A. The editorial, in fact, called for ever stronger reform to entirely eliminate pensions for elected officials. An excerpt of the editorial is below:
While largely a symbolic gesture, since the actual cost savings for a handful of elected officials will be minor, this strikes these editorial pages as a common-sense and fair reform, especially given the fact that the county has been asking its employees to likewise cover their own pension contributions. As Supervisor Todd Spitzer told us, “If we’re going to ask our rank-and- file employees to pay their fair share, we should, too.”
One question remains in our minds, however: Why do elected officials earn pensions in the first place? Pensions were intended to provide stability and encourage long tenures, while elections (and term limits, in the case of the supervisors) are supposed to allow for change. We hope the Board of Supervisors will take the next step and do away with pensions for elected officials altogether.
Vote Yes on Measure A. 
—Orange County Register editorial board
No official arguments were submitted in opposition to Measure A. If you have an argument that you would like to see posted here, please email the Local Ballot Measure Project staff writer.
- Local pensions on the ballot
- Orange County, California ballot measures
- June 3, 2014 ballot measures in California
- Orange County Elections Office website, "Impartial Analysis of Measure A," archived May 9, 2014
- League of Women Voters of California Education Fund, Orange County, June 3, 2014 election information, accessed May 9, 2014
- Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
- Orange County Elections Office website, "Full text of Measure A ordinance," archived May 9, 2014
- Orange County Elections Office website, "Argument in Favor of Measure A," archived May 9, 2014
- Orange County Register, "Editorial: Yes on Orange County Measure A," May 2, 2014, archived May 15, 2014
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